Hello friends, very happy new year to all of you. I am glad that I am starting this year by such a great blog piece which i know you are going to love. I am not the first one to write about Red Tape movement, there are many articles on internet and newspaper about this. But let me tell you why this is special for me. I accidentally came across Prabhat Mishra , the founder of Red Tape Movement on Instagram and who is a very humble person to give me a short interview.
Let me start by telling you that planting trees is the need of the hour and we have already heard it several times, also we have participated in it directly or indirectly. Red Tape movement aims to protect the trees by tieing red ribbon around a tree in order to save the trees and the biodiversity of that particular area. We often forget that planting new trees is not the only solution. We also need to protect the one we have. The old trees does much help to the environment than the young trees. So to maintain this balance its very important to protect them and it will indirectly protect the wild life of that area. The Red Tape Movement is one such movement in Etawah started by Prabhat Misra [Assistant director National Savings, Etawah]. This movement started by one person with the help of the few villagers has become a big movement and has been recognized by IUCN. You can read more on this here…
Talk with Prabhat Mishra (PM)
Q.1 Can you tell us about that one incident that made you start this Red Tape Movement?
PM: Since childhood, I have always had a great love for nature. But it was only when I
was transferred to district Etawah (Uttar Pradesh), and got a chance to see the ravine area of the National Chambal sanctuary and the Yamuna forest areas, I realised that deforestation, the depleting biodiversity and climate change threatened their very existence. So, on June 5, 2008, I started a peaceful, non-violent movement to generate awareness about the importance of trees to our environment.
Q.2 One experience of yours while working to save trees that would inspire people?
PM: Interestingly, my journey, which started in a place where dacoits were a major concern has come full circle. In 2015, I met former bandit Seema Parihar, who was keen to join the movement. So, on March 21, 2016, when an NGO the ‘Sri Kalptaru Society’ organised an environmental awareness event in Jaipur, Seema Parihar, herself organised the red tape activity, which attended by former dacoits and bandits Renu Yadav, Malkhan Singh, Preetam Singh “Gabbar Singh”, Pancham Singh, Pehalwan Singh.
In December 2015, Founder of Chipko Movement, Magsaysay Award winner and Gandhi Peace Prize awardee Chandi Prasad Bhatt also tied Red Tape on an Ashoka tree, which he had planted himself, in Etawah.
In 2014, students of the Elgin High School in Chicago, conducted an ecological project in the vicinity of their school. As part of the ‘National Biodiversity Teach In’ project, they tied red tapes on trees throughout the school property to raise awareness about their ecological impact. They also advocated this activity to other schools.
Q.3 What were the major challenges that you faced while working for this project?
PM: Initially, cooperation was low. But with continuous awareness campaigns, especially in villages, attitudes started changing. So far we have visited many villages of Etawah and have tied red tapes to over on more than 10,000 trees trunks and planted over 2000 trees.
Q.4 What message would you like to give today’s young generation to save our environment?
PM: My experience about this movement is very positive and energetic. We are living in a world which is under “transition and transformation phase” of energy and facing the problem of Climate Change. So, we must develop a better and natural “GHG Sink system” to achieve 350 ppm CO2 level in the atmosphere. Trees are “Best Natural Sinks” of CO2 and will be helpful to tackle with Climate Change.
World Community should keep one fundamental rule, while making any planning, that, “United We” can save earth from Climate Change, through such peoples participatory grass root level awareness movements. This is MUST to save our beautiful Earth from Climate Change for our future generations to come. Red Tape movement is now spreading at grass root level and peoples are supporting our move to protect and save trees and bio-diversity.
Such movements will be helpful to add people for the establishment of green society, sustainable development, forest transition, carbon sequestration and finally fight against Climate Change.
Q.5 What can people like us do, to help and support this movement?
PM: Under this movement, especially on a holiday, we choose a village and go to this village and do plantation and tie the red tapes on existing trees trunks. There, we give the message that to cut the trees is lethal for our present and future generations. We also make villagers aware about Climate change and importance of forest and biodiversity conservation. This movement does not accept any kind of financial help & is a self-run movement with the help of grass root level people.